In Dutch, the word for passion is “hartstocht,” which literally translates as “heart’s journey.” So, in the Netherlands, if you ask “What is your passion?” you are really asking, “What is your heart’s journey?”
A few years ago, our oldest son returned home 5 weeks into a 6-month program with an overseas mission. It just wasn’t for him. His Dad and I were so disappointed. We had met years ago during a 5-year stint in Holland with the same organization, and we’d always seen our time there as the groundwork for later success in life. At the time, our son didn’t seem passionate about anything except having fun, and we naturally hoped he’d aim a bit higher. We forgot, though, that his heart’s journey would not look like ours.
A passion is something that drives you. It can be completely selfish, or it can lead you to extreme self-denial. Either way, when we are passionate about something, we will pay just about anything for it. In fact, the root Latin word literally means “suffering” and is used to refer to the torment and death of Jesus. In this sense, you might say that humanity itself is God’s passion, so much so that he was willing to sacrifice himself for us.
Whether we are talking about our passion for our work, our creative endeavors, our loved ones, our mission in life, or our walk with God—our passions dictate our heart’s journey. And because we are all unique, each journey is different and a different sacrifice is required of each of us. When I think of passion as a journey of the heart, I am better able to let go of judgment. Everything about our quest is our own, even our mistakes. Our passions in life may change as well. We may begin by being passionate about ourselves alone—but we may end with a passion for others that leads us to deny self to extraordinary extremes. A journey of the heart doesn’t happen in a 6-month trip. It is the journey of a lifetime.
© 2010 L. Kay Johnson, L is for LaNita. All rights reserved.